Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks haven beaten the Polish team of Marcin Oajkowski and Krzysztof Kierkowski in to first place at RYA 49er Gold Series which concluded this weekend

Following on from the Red Bull Tide Ride at Hayling Island Sailing Club last weekend, the concluding part of the RYA 49er Gold Series took place at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy over the weekend of the 11-13 October. The series attracted 30 boats representing 11 countries, including a number of top international sailors, as well as the cream of British 49er talent.

Going into the final weekend, visiting Polish 49er sailors Marcin Oajkowski and crew Krzysztof Kierkowski were tied on even points with team GBR sailors and worlds bronze medallists Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith.

The final weekend was scheduled to be sailed over three days, with the results carried over from the first weekend. However, the wind had different ideas and the regatta had to be cut short due to the increasingly breezy conditions and torrential rain that hit the south coast of England, therefore the racing was abandoned on the final Sunday and prizegiving brought forward in order to allow the international competitors to make a safe journey home.

The race committee still managed to complete nine races for the competitors, so there was plenty of action and an exciting demonstration of top-level 49er sailing in Portland Harbour.

With a total of 15 races and two discards the trick was consistency, which is exactly what team GBR sailors Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks displayed. Despite two races where they started prematurely, they scored nothing worse than a seventh place in the 13 remaining races, and completed a successful year, after finishing with silver medals at both the world and European championships, with victory at the Gold Series, taking home the £1,000 prize money.

Draper commented, “We used this series to work on our starting strategy, as it happened we won the weekend too, so we are pretty pleased. It has been a really good event over the two weekends, we have got a lot of races in and it is great to have the international sailors over, especially as many of them are in the top 15 of the world rankings.

We have had a successful year and the key is now to keep the training up over the winter to hopefully continue our success into next season.”

Second place went to Marcin Oajkowski and Krzysztof Kierkowski of Poland who admitted they struggled during the first weekend in Hayling to get to grips with the tide, but sailed well to discard an OCS and their second worst result, an 11th place, to finish just behind Draper and Hiscocks.

Oajkowski said: “It has been good racing both from the shore side and on the water and we have sailed lots of races. Last weekend the tactics were tricky as we are used to sailing on the Baltic where there is no tide, but we sailed well and are glad to finish second.” He continued, “We have taken a year out of studies to concentrate on our sailing, and now go to Spain to train as we need to get good, as next year is an important time for us.”

Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith, who are currently ranked number four in the world, came through from the first weekend in second place and managed to stay in the game, scoring a number of top five results, to finish in third place overall.

“After a short time away from 49er sailing, it is good to come back into it so well and be able to finish third at this event”, commented Brotherton, who went on to say, “we have now got a fairly intensive winter training programme planned in Britain before the season begins again next year.”

The 49er national circuit continues in a few weeks time when they will join a number of other Olympic classes to compete in the Holt RYA National Ranking Series over the weekend of the 26-27 October at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy.

Overall Results

1st Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks, GBR (4,2,(37),7,3,5,(37),1,2,7,1,5,1,2,3) 43 pts

2nd Marcin Oajkowski and Krzysztof Kierkowski, POL ((37),1,2,1,4,7,8,3,(11),6,2,1,5,1,6.4) 47.4 pts

3rd Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith, GBR (1,5,1,6,(12),2,4,11,3,3,4,7,4,(14),1) 52 pts

4th Alister Richardson and Peter Greehalgh, GBR ((37),(13),5,9,5,9,3,2,1,1,6,4,2,6,8) 61 pts

5th Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, GBR (3,8,3,4,7,1,6,(12),4,(12),5,8,7,12,2) 70 pts